South Ayrshire Council is thanking volunteers and community planning partners who assisted hundreds of people who made use of emergency rest centre facilities in the Carrick area over the weekend – including around 200 people who were supported overnight.
The rest centres were set up on Friday evening to provide shelter and refreshments in Ballantrae and Girvan following the closure of the A77 and A714, which affected travelers heading both northbound and southbound on these key routes.
Around 170 people made use of the facilities in Ballantrae overnight, which were established in the local community centre with additional support from the Kings Arms Hotel. A further 30 people were accommodated overnight in the rest centre in Girvan, which was established in Girvan Resource Centre.
Both centres were staffed throughout Friday night into Saturday by community volunteers, police and South Ayrshire Council staff. And a special order for food and other essential supplies, such as nappies, was placed with ASDA in Girvan and delivered to the centres – after their own supplies started to run out – by the police. In addition, various local businesses also supplied food to the rest centres.
Both rest centres were closed down on Saturday afternoon once the A77 and A714 reopened and travellers could continue on their journeys.
Councillor Bill McIntosh, Leader of South Ayrshire Council, said: “My sincere thanks to everyone involved in looking after those who were stranded in the Carrick area because of the extreme weather. This was a terrific example of what we mean by community planning with the Council and police working hand in hand with local businesses and volunteers – particularly the WRVS, Ballantrae community centre committee and the Friends of Hillcrest – who were a vital part of the process to make a difference for others.
“My thanks too to everyone from the many Council services who were involved in responding to this situation including roads staff, community care/social work staff, janitors, caretakers and housing colleagues who all went the extra mile to ensure people were kept safe, warm and fed.
“There was a real community spirit in both emergency rest centres and I thank all those who were stranded for their patience and co-operation during their time with us. Everyone stayed really positive and made sure they kept their spirits up while the Council, police and partner services worked to reopen the roads. We even saw a table tennis tournament get underway in the Ballantrae centre at one point!
“Fortunately our emergency situation was over in a relatively short period and our thoughts today are with our neighbours elsewhere in the country who are still dealing with the fallout from the snow.”
Assistant Chief Constable Wayne Mawson, who will be responsible for local policing west in the new Police Scotland, added: “I would like to pay tribute to everyone concerned in the massive effort to assist those affected by the extreme weather conditions in the Carrick area over the past few days, particularly the community volunteers and my police officers, who worked exceptionally long hours in really difficult circumstances.
“I visited the multi-agency co-ordination centre in Prestwick and was incredibly impressed by the set up there. In addition, I visited both the Girvan and Ballantrae rest centres and witnessed first-hand the exceptional community spirit among the families and lorry drivers stranded. After speaking to those within the rest centre, it was clear that they were extremely grateful to the volunteers for their food, drink and warmth.
“It was a fantastic example of what can be achieved when all partners and the local community really work together.”